2 men found dead in downtown Berkeley park, 1 man hospitalized

Police do not believe foul play was involved.

Police found two men dead at Civic Center Park on Sunday afternoon, June 6, 2021. Credit: Emilie Raguso

Authorities found two men dead at Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley on Sunday afternoon and took a third man to the hospital for medical treatment, police report.

The deaths do not appear to be suspicious, said Lt. Melanie Turner of the Berkeley Police Department.

A passerby called police at 12:10 p.m., Turner said, after seeing a man who wasn’t moving on the ground near a tent on the west side of the park by Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Police and firefighters responded and pronounced the man, who was in his 50s, dead at the scene.

First responders then found a second man, who was also in his 50s, unconscious in the tent nearby. They took him to the hospital for medical treatment, Turner said.

One park resident told Berkeleyside that the surviving man had lived in the park for about two years, and identified him as a musician who plays guitar and other instruments.

At about 3 p.m., while police and firefighters were still in the area clearing the scene and speaking with witnesses, Turner said, a man approached them to report that his tent mate, on the east side of the park, was also unresponsive.

Police found two men dead at Civic Center Park on Sunday afternoon, June 6, 2021. Credit: Emilie Raguso

Authorities checked on the man, who was in his early 40s, and determined that he too had died, Turner said.

Richard, who stays at Civic Center Park, said he was the one who found that individual.

“He died in my tent,” Richard told Berkeleyside. “He just came in last night. I tried to wake him up this morning and he was dead.”

Authorities found drug paraphernalia during their investigations Sunday. Richard told Berkeleyside that there may have been a bad batch of something mixed with fentanyl that was making the rounds.

He said it had been difficult to find the body of his new tent mate. The man had just moved in with him after going through the breakup of a longterm relationship.

“It’s hard to witness it,” Richard said. “He was a real nice guy.”

As of about 4 p.m., yellow crime scene tape still cordoned off large sections of the park as police conducted interviews and completed their investigation.

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.